Herbs & Botanicals
Astragalus (huang qi)
What is astragalus?
Astragalus is an herb native to northern China. While more than 2,000
varieties of astragalus exist worldwide, the Chinese version is the type
that has been tested most extensively.
Why do we need astragalus? What is it used for?
Astragalus contains numerous compounds, including flavonoids, polysaccharides,
amino acids and trace minerals. Traditionally, it was used in China for
conditions such as night sweats, diarrhea, and qi deficiency.
Preliminary studies conducted in Asia have determined that astragalus
can enhance immune function and lengthen the lives of people with cancer.
Other studies suggest that it may prevent some infections in people undergoing
dialysis for kidney failure.
How much astragalus should I take?
Some textbooks recommend taking between 9-15 grams of astragalus in a
decoction, which is made by boiling astragalus root in water for a few
minutes, then brewing the tea. Other providers recommend between 1,000-1,500
milligrams of astraglus in capsule form, or 3-5 millileters of an astragalus
tincture taken three times per day.
What forms of astragalus are available?
Astragalus root is most commonly available in its raw form. Many stores
sell astragalus supplements, which are available in capsules or powders.
Other stores sell astragalus tinctures.
What can happen if I take too much astragalus?
Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should
At present, there are no known side-effects when astragalus is used as
recommended. There are no well-known drug interactions with astragalus.
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treatment of ischemic heart disease with astragalus membranaceus.
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Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1992.